Fujimi 1/72 F-86F Sabre "MiG Killer"

KIT #: F-19
PRICE: 800 yen SRP)
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1986 boxing


Probably the first really competent jet fighter of the US was the F-86. Though the F-84 flew earlier and proved to be an excellent fighter-bomber and escort fighter, it was really not the air to air fighter that the Sabre turned into. This was as much due to the straight wings of the F-84. These wings provided good altitude performance, but severely limited speed.

Though outperformed in some regimes by the MiG-15, one could easily say that with a competent pilot, both were about equal with the MiG having heavier armament and a higher altitude range. However the MiG was prone to 'snaking' at high mach numbers which really wasn't good.

In the end, the Sabre became the de facto favorite of NATO and allied countries for most of the rest of the 1950s and into the 1960s being built in Australia, Canada, and Japan under license. Second hand F-86s were then liberally sprinkled among the smaller air forces of the world. Some of these nations still flying them into the 1980s. Many were expended as target drones and a goodly number ended up as war birds for people who have far too much money.

This kit has been around since at least 1986 and immediately made all other 1/72 Sabres obsolete. Even today, with the very nice Airfix kit having been released, there are those who prefer the Fujimi kit. This is the initial boxing and other than being half the cost of the more recent ones, is exactly the same plastic.

For the nuts and bolts, there are five sprues, one of which is clear for the canopy and gun sight glass. There seems to be only a few ways of molding a Sabre in this scale and that means a fairly full intake that ends in the first compressor state. The cockpit is molded atop the intake and the nose gear well on the bottom. The kit has a passable seat with control stick and instruments. Decals are provided for the side consoles and instrument panel, though there is detail on both if you'd rather paint. There is room in the nose for weight and you will need some.

There are inserts for the gun panels, you have speed brakes that can be posed open and closed and the same goes for the canopy. The canopy itself is glued onto the frame. I personally do not like this arrangement as it is nearly impossible for the seam to not show. I should also mention that, typical of most Sabre kits, the speed brakes do not droop when open. You need to do a bit of adjustment to get this to be properly posed.

Landing gear and gear wells are nicely done and should cause no issues. The single piece lower wing has upper wing halves and you need to open holes for fuel tanks. I'd leave off the Sidewinders and pylons for this boxing. From what I've read, the USAF never adopted this weapon for the F-86 as it was a Navy missile and it wasn't until the F-4C that USAF fighters were Sidewinder armed.

Instructions are well done and you are provided with markings for four Korean War aircraft. Two of them are on the 'done to death' list, but are popular with modelers which is why they are included. One is the box art plane 'MiG Mad Marine' an F-86F-30 as flown by John Glenn when with the 25th FIS. The other is 'The Huff', an F-86F-1 flown by Jim Thompson with the 39th FIS. The other two re an F-86F-15 'Billie/Marge' flown by LR Moore with the 335 FIS and finally an F-86E 'Marlene, Nancy and Marian' that was with the 39th FIS. There are differences between the different variants, but they are small and most who are not Sabre enthusiasts will not notice them. Decals are nicely printed and include all the different wing, fuselage and tail bands.  I don't recall how well Fujimi decals do with setting solutions, but I have found that Mr Mark Softer is the only solution that seems to work well with Japanese printed decals.


I have had this kit for an age and is one of several purchased at one time. I've built the Fujimi Sabre a few times and found them to be very nice. They seem to be the basis for the Hobbycraft 1/72 kit, though the fit is much better. Despite its age, it makes into a superb model and is well worth seeking out.

February 2018

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